Nightmare Festival (Review)

If you like the idea of a day-long pub and bar crawl around Camden’s best live gig venues, with an endless list of bands performing loud and proud in full Halloween attire then the Nightmare Festival is for you.  Part of Camden Rocks, this year the festival boasted 120 bands. Including an impressive list of newcomers and established indie, rock and heavy metal acts, plus a bit of everything else in between and thrown into a massive musical cauldron.

Proud Camden was host to an array of new talent throughout the day, including four piece Death and the Penguin who played an upbeat set from their debut punk infused LP, Accidents Happen. Hard hitting metal came in the form of newcomers and London natives Reverted, who performed an intimate set at The Stillery bar. While both were certainly promising, they lacked the polished goodness of alternative metal pros, InMe, who performed to a packed Electric Ballroom. Attracting a mixed crowd, including loyal fans, most of whom were more than ready to mosh at the request of front man Dave McPherson, the band effortlessly captivated with both old and new material – a performance to be proud of and the last one of the year for the band.

Scanning the crowd at Dingwalls was much like how you would imagine a party at The Adams Family mansion, with black brides, vampires and other blood drenched monstrosities gathered excitedly for a Halloween feast. And on the menu, set against a backdrop of cobwebs and bright red lights, was a menagerie of music, and lots of it.

Crowd pleasers included the excellent Howling Bells, whose polished set included the catchy Original Sin, from their recent Heartstrings album. Their self-styled pop sound complemented perfectly by Juanita Stein’s powerful and haunting vocals helped make the performance a definite festival highlight. The band, who have toured with the likes of Coldplay, the Futureheads, Placebo, the Killers and Snow Patrol are a must see for live music fans.

And finally, headlining a packed out Dingwalls was Brighton based punk inspired duo, the band with an ultimate Halloween name, Blood Red Shoes. They opened with the first track of their self-titled 2013 album, the grungy, angry instrumental, Welcome Home. Keeping up the same pace throughout, vocalist/guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer/vocalist Steven Ansell took us on a screaming rollercoaster ride into the night – marking the perfect end to a Halloween celebration.